To Participate In The Industrial Hemp Webinar Series  

On August 17, 2019

To Participate In The Industrial Hemp Webinar Series  

Join hemp researchers and experts on Mondays at lunch time for a webinar series geared towards fiber, grain, seed, and CBD hemp production.


Extension Agronomist Liz Bosak explains the Hemp webinar series will kick-off on Monday August 19.  The first one will be a question and answer format of in-season production issues. The speakers will be Dr. Alyssa Collins and Krystal Snyder, Penn State; the Moderator will be Dr. Liz Bosak, Penn State.   The next two webinars in September will focus on harvest issues for hemp fiber and seed production followed by CBD harvest issues. On September 9 the topic will be Hemp Harvest Considerations for Fiber and Seed. The speakers will be Dr. Alyssa Collins and Krystal Snyder, Penn State; the Moderator will be Brittany Clark, Penn State. On September 23 the topic will be Hemp Harvest Considerations for CBDs. The speakers will be Dr. Alyssa Collins and Krystal Snyder, Penn State; the Moderator will be Dr. Liz Bosak, Penn State.   

All live webinars begin at 12:00 pm and end at 1:00 pm.  Additional webinars will be planned based upon attendance at the first two scheduled webinars.  There is no cost to attend but pre-registration is required at  For assistance with registration, please contact Extension Registration Services at 1 877-345-0691.


To Manage The Harvest For Top Corn Silage Quality

The month of August is nearing the end and corn silage harvest has already begun in some areas. Many producers and custom operators are preparing their equipment and the logistics for this activity. There is a short time frame to complete this task and even shorter when the weather does not cooperate. The Extension Dairy Team offers these tips for silage harvest.

The goal is to have a high-quality corn silage. One of the steps to achieving that goal is proper corn silage kernel processing. The benefits of kernel processing have been demonstrated many times in research and at the farm level. The main advantage is breaking the corn kernels into pieces, which should result in improved starch utilization and milk production.

Most modern silage choppers are equipped for kernel processing. But if you have older equipment especially if you are chopping whole stalks at the silo you may be missing a kernel processer. Retrofitting your chopper with a kernel processor can improve your silage quality which is an important part of improving milk production. 

While the goal is top silage quality, unfortunately this is not always achieved, especially if the equipment is not in good shape. Particle size may be negatively impacted by equipment that is improperly set, which may not only decrease the quality of the forage but also the bottom line of the farm.

Corn silage needs to be harvested with a proper moisture which occurs in a narrow time frame to achieve the highest nutritional value but also, it needs to be processed correctly if we want to get the best out of it. For instance, the particle size of the forage, a variable that can be greatly influenced by processing, can have a big effect on the performance and eating behavior of the cows as well as on the profitability of the farm. Studies conducted at Penn State are suggesting that feeding short particle size corn silage can increase dry matter intake, improve rumen fermentation and reduce sorting behavior. When particles are too large, cows will tend to sort their feed, affecting their dry matter intake. Conversely, if particles are too small, feed will not be physically effective in the digestive system of the cow. 

Penn State Extension’s “Crops to Cows to Cash Program” has collected production data and corn silage samples to evaluate particle size in many farms around Pennsylvania. The results agree with nutritional studies. A farm producing 96 lbs. of milk had a processing score of 84.4, which is above the optimal recommendation of 80. In contrast, a farm that only scored 70.3, had a milk production of 65.7 lbs. 

Furthermore, the results indicate that there is a big variability among farms and sometimes even within the same farm. This variability may be caused by different factors such as, poorly maintained equipment, type of hybrid being processed, crop maturity, etc. Making sure that the feed rolls, cutterheads and crop processors of the harvester are in good condition are crucial components to accomplish an appropriate particle size. An average length of cut of 3/8 in for unprocessed corn silage or ¾ in for processed corn silage are recommended. 

Particle size can be monitored during harvesting with The Penn State Particle Size Separator. This tool will help you to estimate the particle size distribution. General recommendations for corn silage particle size distribution on the three sieves and bottom tray of the Penn State Particle Size Separator are listed here. The top screen should have 2-8% of the particles, second screen should have 60-80 %, the third screen should have 20-30%, and the bottom tray 1-4%.

Even though there are many factors that can influence the quality of corn silage, data are pointing out that forage processing plays a key role in quality. Making sure that the equipment is maintained and calibrated properly, and monitoring particle size during harvesting will ensure the quality of the forage that will translate to a higher profitability on your farm. 

Quote Of The Week:  “If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom.” Dwight D. Eisenhower